I first became aware of colorist Steve Downer due to his work on MonkeyBrain Comics’ Edison Rex. But as I quickly learned, he serves as colorist on a variety of projects, as well as artist on Dracula the Unconquered. Given the variety of Downer’s projects, I thought it would be insightful to discuss his craft with him.
Tim O’Shea: How long have you been a colorist?
Steve Downer: I’ve been working full-time as a colorist since 2009, though I started coloring as a side job much earlier, in 2007, while I worked as a T-shirt graphic designer.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at all the comics and other stuff we’ve been checking out lately. Today our special guest is Chris Sims, senior writer for ComicsAlliance, blogger at Chris’s Invincible Super Blog and writer of comics like Dracula the Unconquered and Awesome Hospital.
To see what Chris and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Oni Press brought guns, war and webcomics to New York Comic Con today, announcing a new graphic novel from Joe Harris and Adam Pollina, a Sixth Gun spinoff miniseries and the transformation of their website from “a marketing resource for its print titles into a full-fledged content hub with comic updates five days a week.”
Here’s a rundown of the announcements ….
Wars in Toyland by Joe Harris and Adam Pollina
From the Slingers (hey, remember Slingers?) team comes an oversized graphic novel “darkly inspired” by Babes in Toyland. Per the press release, “this new book looks at the once wondrous and beautiful Toyland after the rise of the teddy dictator, Roxbury. After Matthew’s brother and playmate, Alex, disappears, young Matthew finds himself carried into Toyland by his own loyal toy soldiers. Only Matthew soon learns that Alex has been here, too – and is now being held captive by Roxbury. Leading an attack on the teddy bear’s fortress, Matthew never considers that his brother might be beyond saving.”
I’m not positing that print should just die or go away. I am saying, as I have been for over a year, that unless you’re, say, Brian Vaughan or Bendis or someone else who’s already proven to comics shops that you can move non-superhero fare, print-first creator-owned floppies and graphic novels are a huge risk. Printing prices are a gargantuan bite of your budget at typical direct-market print-runs, even for big name creators. Even to print through Image, as a creator, you have to be willing to work for back-end money or to fund STAGGERING initial costs. There’s no WAY for me — or anyone with less of a track record than I have — to launch two or three new creator-owned books into the marketplace as it is right now, especially non-cape material, and not go bankrupt by issue three.
That’s part of Mark Waid’s response to Chris Sims, who asked Waid why he is choosing to make digital comics. Waid announced his new line of creator-owned digital comics at WonderCon, and he kicked it off with Luther, which is available as a free download. Sims’ post is well worth reading for his analysis of what Waid is up to in this comic, but aside from the formal analysis, it all comes down to money, and if a creator of Waid’s stature can’t make a print comic that will pay for itself, well, it’s time to shift the paradigm.
Later in his response, Waid says that he plans to publish collected editions of the digital comics in print form, but only after he monetizes the digital versions, which is one of the great struggles of the modern comics market.